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Best Summit Hikes in the Kootenays

There’s a certain feeling that you get from summiting a peak. Whether it’s a quick stroll to gain a 360° view or a physical feat of stamina that will wipe you out for days afterwards (your poor calves), summiting a peak is always a thrilling experience.

You feel like you have done something significant when you take those last few steps and you can’t go any further; no higher place can be reached. It stirs something deep inside people like nothing experienced before. Some say it is the reward of an uninhibited view. Others say it is the feeling of conquering nature. 

I like to think that it’s about finishing a challenge that is presented, regardless of how much crazy vertical it will take to get to the top. As the old saying says; it’s about the journey, not the destination. Now, get out there and climb some of the “top 10 peaks” in the Kootenays.

#1 – Idaho Peak (near New Denver)

The hike to Idaho Peak can be done easily and is a must do for anyone visiting Slocan Lake in the West Kootenays.

A top of Idaho Peak with Slocan Lake below; photo by Kari Medig

#2 –  Mt. Begbie (Revelstoke)

This hike is a rite of passage in Revelstoke. Views are limited on the way up but you will be rewarded when you reach the top.

Mt. Begbie at night; photo by Eric Hanson

#3 – Mt. Burgess (Field/Yoho National Park)

This standalone peak rises over the iconic Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Treat yourself to a stay in the iconic Emerald Lake Lodge to recount your feat.

Mt. Burgess in Yoho National Park; photo by Paul Zizka

#4 – Old Glory (Rossland)

The mountain that dominates all others in the Rossland region used to have a house on top that functioned as a weather station.

Old Glory above Rossland, BC; photo by Ryan Flett

#5 –  Mt. Carlyle (New Denver)

The land around Carlyle was famous for silver mining back in the late 1800’s and you will still find old mining equipment to this day on this steep, scrambling hike.

Mt. Carlyle near Kaslo, BC in the Selkirk Mountains; photo by Ryan Flett

#6 – Pigeon Spire (near Brisco/Radium Hot Springs)

One of the most iconic peaks in Canada resides within the stunning Bugaboos Provincial Park. You can hike to its base but you’ll need climbing gear a whole lot of courage to reach the top.

Hike and then climb the Pigeon Spires in the Bugaboo Provincial Park; photo by Heidi Korven

#7 –  Three Sisters (Fernie)

This hike in Fernie has it all; easy walking through cedar forests, alpine meadows and views from the peak that will make you want to keep exploring.

#8  – Mt. Loki (near Kaslo)

One of the most accessible high peaks in the West Kootenays (near Kaslo). This one will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

#9 –  Fisher Peak (near Cranbrook/Kimberley)

Fisher Peak dominates the skyline above Cranbrook. At 2,886m, this 1,400m vertical hike isn’t for the faint at heart.

Making your way to the summit of Mt. Fisher in the Canadian Rockies; photo by Kari Medig

#10 –  Pulpit Rock (Nelson)

Across the lake from Nelson is this quick grind of a hike that affords an excellent view of the town. Not enough? Continue up to the Flagpole to get an even higher view.

Pulpit Rock with Nelson & Kootenay Lake below; photo by Dave Heath

Know Before You Go – Heading on a Kootenay adventure? In some parts of our region, there is limited cell service. Always let someone know of your plans before leaving – when you’re going, where you’re going and when you’re planning to be back. Prepare yourself with food, water, maps and first-aid supplies. Wear appropriate footwear and bring layers to account for any sudden weather changes on the water or in the mountains. You’ll be happy you did! BC Adventure Smart is a great recourse to help you get informed before heading into the outdoors!

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Words by Ryan Flett.  Top photo by Ryan Flett of Old Glory in Rossland.

Ryan Flett – is  a local photographer from Nelson, BC. Ryan started skiing at Whitewater Ski Resort at a young age and knew that his obsession with the outdoors would guide him.  He sought a career where he could experience the world around him and capture its beauty. He’s chased skiers down powder runs in the Kootenays, experienced the culture wonders of South America, sailed the majestic BC coast and travelled east to west in Canada.  And continues experiencing as much as he can, with his camera in tow. 

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(Original published date: August 31, 2017)

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